Amsterdam Restaurants

Not so long ago, Dutch cuisine consisted mostly of fried food—french fries, bitterballen, and frikandel (deep-fried sausages)—along with thick pea soup and hearty meat and potato dishes. These days, however, Amsterdam restaurants serve much higher-quality and more varied food than ever before. Many forward-thinking Amsterdam res
Not so long ago, Dutch cuisine consisted mostly of fried food—french fries, bitterballen, and frikandel (deep-fried sausages)—along with thick pea soup and hearty meat and potato dishes. These days, however, Amsterdam restaurants serve much higher-quality and more varie
Not so long ago, Dutch cuisine consisted mostly of fried food—french fries, bitterballen, and frikandel (deep-fried saus

Not so long ago, Dutch cuisine consisted mostly of fried food—french fries, bitterballen, and frikandel (deep-fried sausages)—along with thick pea soup and hearty meat and potato dishes. These days, however, Amsterdam restaurants serve much higher-quality and more varied food than ever before.

Many forward-thinking Amsterdam restaurants have embraced a "New Dutch cuisine," using organic and locally sourced meat, fish, and seafood, and expertly cooked vegetables served with interesting sauces and side dishes. Some chefs are taking it a step further and growing produce and herbs on land or rooftops attached to their restaurants—garden to table cooking, if you will. Multicourse tasting menus or small plates that you can mix and match are popular at upscale eateries, making use of what's freshest at the moment, perhaps farm-fresh asparagus or North Sea mussels. The classic standbys are still widely available, too—it's hard to resist those delicious bitterballen—but they're often prepared in updated, modern interpretations.

Amsterdam has a wealth of international cuisines. The city has long been known for its Moroccan, Turkish, and Indonesian food, and there are excellent Vietnamese eateries, where you can finally get a decent bánh mì, as well as pretty much every type of cuisine you might be craving. Another thing that's big on the Amsterdam food scene these days is brunch. Traditionally, the Dutch opt for relatively simple breakfasts of buttered toast with chocolate sprinkles (called hagelslag), but places for more American-style brunch—eggs Benedict or oatmeal with fresh fruit—have popped up throughout the city, attracting the city's trend-followers. Although steak restaurants have existed for years (and continue to open on a regular basis), hamburgers are also trendy, with tiny spots elbowing their way in to become the most popular in town.

Pockets of interesting dining are emerging away from the city center, too, but Amsterdam is a small city, so don't be daunted by distance. Everything's still easy to reach by cab, tram, or bus—or make like a local and burn off some calories by renting a bike.

Despite all these changes, one thing's stayed relatively the same: the pace of service. Expect a wait to get menus, to order, and then to receive your food. You just have to go with it: it's the Dutch way!

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  • 1. Bazar Amsterdam

    $ | De Pijp | African

    A golden angel–capped church provides the setting for this kitsch-filled restaurant, where inexpensive and flavorful North African cooking—from...Read More

  • 2. Café Luxembourg

    $$ | Centrum | Café

    One of the city's top grand cafés, Luxembourg has a stately interior and a view of a bustling square, both of which are excellent for people...Read More

  • 3. In de Waag

    $$$ | Nieuwmarkt | International

    The lofty wood-beam interior of the 17th-century Waag (weigh house), converted into a grand café and restaurant, is lighted by hundreds of candles...Read More

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  • 4. Pancake Bakery

    $ | Western Canal Ring | Dutch

    It's hard to go wrong when going out for Dutch pancakes in Amsterdam, but the ones at the Pancake Bakery are the best in town. The 17th-century...Read More

  • 5. Pllek

    $$ | Eclectic

    Befitting its location in the former shipyards of the newly hip NDSM area, this quirky restaurant is housed in a series of cavernous shipping...Read More

  • 6. Bagels and Beans

    $ | Museum District | Café

    This low-key, bustling breakfast and lunch spot is a dependable option, serving the best bagels in Amsterdam. (They might not be up to New York...Read More

  • 7. Bakkerswinkel

    $ | Red Light District | European

    This unpretentious bakery and tearoom evokes an English country kitchen—one that lovingly prepares and serves breakfasts, high tea, hearty sandwiches...Read More

  • 8. Bluespoon

    $$$ | Western Canal Ring | Dutch

    Traditional Dutch food often gets a bad rap—described as heavy and fried—but this lively restaurant in the Andaz hotel proves that lighter and...Read More

  • 9. Bridges

    $$$ | Red Light District | Seafood

    When you enter this classy restaurant inside the Sofitel Amsterdam hotel, you'll pass a Karel Appel wall mural, before getting distracted by...Read More

  • 10. Café Americain

    $$$ | Leidseplein | French

    Although thousands of buildings in Amsterdam are designated historic monuments, few have their interiors landmarked as well; this one does,...Read More

  • 11. Café-Restaurant De Plantage

    $$ | Plantage | Mediterranean

    The stunning decor in this expansive space next to the Artis zoo is reason enough to visit, but the Mediterranean-influenced food is excellent...Read More

  • 12. Cobra Café

    $ | Museum District | Café

    If you need a rejuvenating break from art viewing, head to this café across from the Rijksmuseum for coffee and cake, or for lunch on one of...Read More

  • 13. CT coffee & coconuts

    $$ | De Pijp | Eclectic

    This lively spot with soaring ceilings and three levels of seating—a former 1920s cinema—attracts a young crowd for the eclectic but generally...Read More

  • 14. De Roode Leeuw

    $$$ | Centrum | Dutch

    Timeless and classic, De Roode Leeuw is a light along a strip of otherwise uninspiring road; it's one of the few non–fast food restaurants around...Read More

  • 15. Gartine

    $ | Centrum | Café

    This snug and inexpensive breakfast, brunch, lunch, and high-tea favorite is strewn with flea-market finds (such as a gorgeous Portuguese chandelier...Read More

  • 16. Jansz

    $$$ | Western Canal Ring | Eclectic

    Diners are sure to find something they like on the eclectic menu in this austere gray-and-white restaurant in the Pulitzer Hotel. Old-fashioned...Read More

  • 17. Little Collins

    $ | De Pijp | Eclectic

    One of Amsterdam's brunch pioneers, this intimate Australian-run eatery has a laid-back vibe and friendly servers. Although you'll inevitably...Read More

  • 18. Walem

    $$ | Western Canal Ring | Eclectic

    As if ripped from the pages of design magazine, this sleek and trendy grand café serves elegant breakfast and lunch options, including soup...Read More

  • 19. Westergasterras

    $$ | Café

    In the Westergasfabriek arts complex (just behind the Jordaan), the Western Gas Terrace restaurant overlooks a park and a former city gas container...Read More

  • 20. Winkel 43

    $ | Jordaan | Café

    You can order tasty sandwiches, salads, and pastas at this popular café with traditional wood-beam ceilings, but the crowds come for the appeltaart...Read More

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